Is the Paleo Diet Safe?

Is the Paleo diet safe?

I’ve noticed recently a number of people asking questions that could be summed up as “Is the Paleo Diet safe?” By the Paleo diet we mean, of course, the way of eating based on the diet of Paleolithic Man, the hunter gatherer. It’s not unusual for people to have concerns about any new, or at least newly popular, diet, but what’s the answer? Is the Paleo Diet safe or not?

The Low Carbohydrate question

There seem to be a few possible objections to adopting the Paleo way of eating, and I’ll address first one that is based largely on a misconception. While the Paleo Diet does share some similarities with the well known, and perhaps infamous, Atkins Diet it is not the same thing by any means. Like the Atkins diet, paleo tends towards high fat and protein and usually includes far less carbohydrates than most people eat.

Where paleo differs from the Atkins diet, however, it that it is not carbohydrate restriction that is the aim with paleo, and it is that restriction that can often case problems and even be dangerous. If you chose to deliberately, and greatly, restrict your carbohydrate consumption in order to remain in ketosis for the purpose of losing weight – and this is the major focus of the Atkins diet, then you do need to be pretty careful. This method, whilst it can be effective, is probably best supervised by a medical professional, and it is known to produce some interesting side-effects. Not to say that it doesn’t work, as mentioned, it does seem to get results, but there’s really no clues that this is how nature intended for us to eat – we can do better!

So the Paleo Diet, rather than being deliberately low-carb, just tends to be that way because it removes the major carbohydrate sources in most people’s diets: grains, sugars and potatoes. When you take those ‘staple’ foods out of the equation, most people trying the paleo diet will find themselves looking for a way to increase their carbohydrate intake, not further restrict it. But is the paleo diet safe in terms of the low carbohydrate intake? Is the Paleo Diet safe? Yes, because it is intended to be a balanced, nutritionally rich diet, not a restrictive diet, the Paleo diet is safe.

The high fat concerns

Another possible objection to the Paleo Diet on medical grounds is that it suggests eating of plenty of fats and protein. The concern here, of course, is increased cholesterol and the idea that eating all that fat is going to make you fat. This is, however, NOT TRUE! Yes, shouty capital letters, you really need to get your head around this one! Whilst it’s far beyond the scope of this article, there is extensive research demonstrating that it is not eating fats that makes you fat but carbohydrates. Specifically, sugars and grains, and wheat in particular, are the trouble makers. If you want to avoid putting on excess weight, stay out of the way of grains and sugars.

As ever, it’s best to do your own research, but you really don’t need to look far to find the evidence that eating plenty of fat and protein is a good thing, and definitely not the reason most people put on weight. A small word of caution: This doesn’t mean that all fats are good, although the ones that are good for you may be something of a surprise. Again, it’s beyond the scope of this article, but suffice to say this: butter, eggs and the fatty meat from pastured, grass fed animals is all good for you, very good, eat plenty! But beware those vegetable oils – you might want to read a couple of Wikipedia pages for those before putting any more of those in your body. If you have to do any more than squeeze to get the oil out of something, be a little suspicious! Olive oil is good, but read up on what they do to get corn, palm and soy oils – yuk! 

Is the paleo diet safe when you’re concerned about high cholesterol and the amount fat in your diet? It’s counter intuitive for most of us, but more fat – high quality fat that is – could be exactly what you need. It’s not just that it’s safe but it’s actively good for you – think of it as a lifestyle choice rather than a diet that you go on perhaps.

So is the Paleo Diet safe or not?

It really seems quite ironic to me that people question the safety of something so natural, like the Paleo Diet, but will continue eating, without questioning, hexane extracted, hydrogenated oils that really have no place in the food-chain at all, let alone appearing on your plate. And yet, I guess, there’s safety in the known, or at least there’s the illusion of safety, and it is an illusion. Take a look, take a good long look at what’s happening.

The population of the westernized world, and Americans in particular, are now more overweight and less healthy than has been true for many decades, if ever. If you should doubt this just take a look at some of the magazine adverts and posters from the 1950s – being fat was not considered a problem worth trying to cure back then, all the adverts are for ways to put weight on! So perhaps, rather than asking ‘is the paleo diet safe?’, we should, be asking if our current diet is safe.

A balanced diet, not extremes

Is the paleo diet safe for high cholesterol?The Paleo Diet is based on balance, a natural balance. It’s a different balance than the one we’ve been taught for years, very different from the USDA food pyramid, but it is balanced, not a diet of extremes. Any diet that requires you to take extreme measures, especially when it comes to restricting certain food groups, such as fats or carbohydrates, should be approached with great caution. Nature likes balance, and tends to get it one way or another – be careful how you mess with her!

So, bottom line, is the Paleo Diet safe? Yes, absolutely, though I can’t promise you won’t experience some interesting detox effects if you jump straight into strict Paleo from a SAD diet. As with most things, the best way to know is to try it for yourself and see if it fits. It should do, but you need to find that out for yourself.

When you start noticing how good you feel, how the weight is naturally dropping off if you need it to, and how much more energy and vitality you have, you’re on the way to answering your question. If you start seeing skin complaints, aches and pains and digestive disorders disappearing then you’ll probably be asking yourself a different question. It won’t be Is the Paleo Diet Safe, but why didn’t I try this sooner?!

So, are you going to give it a go? I highly recommend it!

Grab a guide and let’s go…  🙂

Is the Paleo diet safe - your guide

Is the paleo diet safe? Yes, it’s safe, I promise!


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